Since last Monday I’ve been giving presentations on using tools for job search and career management (and even social marketing).
I’m amazed at the percentage of people who are really, really new to this stuff. A lot of people have known about tools, and even the tactics and strategies, for managing their own career, being CEO of Me, Inc., and proactively creating their own “job security” (which I’ll refer to as “income security“).
But “knowing about” and “implementing” are two different things. Like when I “knew about” my lawnmower problem, but sat on it for years, and one day I pulled the pliers out and fixed an uber-frustrating issue in just five minutes that made mowing my lawn a much better experience.
Or “knowing about” a problem with the door knob on my front door which frustrated just about everyone who ever touched it. After years, I finally had that fixed.
Or “knowing about” my intense dislike for my dress shoes, which were either uncomfortable or scuffed to the point of embarrassing (and not professional). I finally made myself do one of the things I loathe, which is shop for shoes for myself. I found a brand and style that I’m in love with and doubt I’ll ever (EVER) buy another brand.
The fixes for our little problems are usually quick, easy and affordable. But for some reason we put them off for years, living with the frustration. Is it because we like the pain and anguish?
I have no idea.
My coach taught me something simple: I have the answers, I know what should be done, but I was just waiting around for someone to give me permission to do it. How silly is that?
I give you permission to go to a face-to-face networking event this month. I never did because I thought I would be cheating on my company (the very same company that pink-slipped me).
I give you permission to take a few hours and update your resume.
I give you permission to read a networking book that will change your life (The first book I recommend is Never Eat Alone).
I give you permission to _____________________________. I’m not sure what it is for you, but I bet you know.
Finally, I give you permission to give yourself permission… for all of those little things that need to be resolved. You are an adult – you don’t need to wait for someone else to come along and say it’s okay to make the necessary change.
Catchy title, I know… if you are really intersted in breaking into the FBI you’ll have to go somewhere else. This story will give you an idea that won’t work anymore (it’s been resolved), but will illustrate an issue that we all have.
When I worked at the FBI one of my tasks was to check the exterior doors each night, after hours, to make sure they were secured (locked). I walked the entire building, pushing on each door, jarring each handle. It was pretty boring, since they were always locked.
One night, to my surprise, one door could be pushed open, even though it was locked. The latch just wasn’t catching, and the problem meant a bad guy could easily just pull the door open and walk into our little secure facility. Of course they had to bypass security with about 100 video cameras, and figure out which of the 30 exterior doors was bad, but still…
The next morning I was in my boss’s office telling her about the problem, describing how I figured it out (kind of a soft body slam against the door), feeling like I contributed to protecting national security. Ann just didn’t believe it, though. She said that the maintenance crew had just fixed that door a few days earlier.
We went back and forth, I was adamant that the door was broken (and a security risk), and she was adamant that it had recently been fixed. I was confused because I thought she would believe me, instead of argue with me. All it would take would be a soft push against the door and she’d see there really was a problem.
Finally I suggested, “let’s go look at it!” “Fine,” she said, and we walked out of her office… when we got to the hallway to go do the door, she quickly went to the left and I went to the right…. and then we turned to face one another and busted up laughing.
We had been arguing for about 15 minutes about different doors!
By this time I had realized how easy it is to miscommunicate even the simplest things, and was sure this was the last time I’d learn the “miscommunication lesson.” I haven’t, as I continue to miscommunicate. I bet you do too.
Job seekers regulary miscommunicate. I think they (you/we) miscommunicate things such as:
Who I am. Your elevator pitch or 30 Second Commercial is a great tool but I’m guessing it does more harm than good most of the time.
What I am looking for. My description of what I was looking for (project manager or product manager of a web-based company) was interpreted as “Jason wants to repair computers,” which is a far cry from my expertise or passion!
How I can help you. Job seekers have rich, cultivated networks… and can help one another in a way that few others can help. But sometimes we come across as gruff, or not helpful, or not willing to share. I look grumpy when I’m thinking, and I’m sure it turns people off who would have otherwise asked for favors.
How you can help me. If you ask how my job search is going, and I respond “fine,” and the conversation ends there, I missed a GRAND opportunity to ask for help. Everyone who asks how it’s going is someone who might help it go better.
Communication is powerful, and easily messed up. How are you communicating better with your network contacts?
Last week in California was amazing – I spoke at nine different places and had a number of networking meetings inbetween. Today I have a webinar for the Career Management Alliance and them and racing to the airport to leave for Atlanta. Here’s part of my schedule in Atlanta… it’s not as full as last week (which is good and bad), and if you are there perhaps we can meet!
Tuesday (3pm – 8:30pm) - Jim Browning’s LinkedIn Training with Jason Alba, Author of “I’m on Facebook, Now What?” on Personal Branding in the Job/Career Campaign using Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging (use discount code “Save40″ to get 40% off!) (click here for more)
Wednesday noonish – Right Management presentation (private event)
Wednesday (3pm – 8:30pm) – Jim Browning’s LinkedIn Training with Jason Alba, Author of “I’m on Facebook, Now What?” on Personal Branding in the Job/Career Campaign using Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging (use discount code “Save40″ to get 40% off!) (click here for more)
Thursday at 6ish – Private job seeker event
I have more, but I’m rushing to get this post out – if you know someone in Atlanta let them know about the Tuesday and Wednesday night event – there is a fee, but they will get lots of goodies.
Detroit’s economy has been hit harder than most other places, and for much longer. I can’t imagine living there and trying to sell a house, find a job, keep a career afloat, etc. I’ve never been there but I’m guessing the morale in the city for career people is not very good.
One of my favorite networking advocates is Terry Bean, who runs Networked, Inc. Terry is a super-cool guy, and lives to help people understand, live and get value out of networking. He’s right in the thick of the place that needs it most.
Last week Terry wrote a post titled 11 things job seekers need to know about networking. If you are in a job search, or afraid of getting laid off, or concerned about how to help a job seeker friend, you need to read this post. I appreciate the shoutout to JibberJobber in one of his points, but more than that, I appreciate the message of hope and action that Terry brings.
I had to wait to announce this one for a while because I was still putting it together, however I suspect this will be a considerable revenue stream. In my post on Consulting as a revenue stream I said that YOU ARE AN EXPERT IN SOMETHING, and I hope that this post helps you understand how you might be able to capitalize on your expertise. There are some grand differences between consulting and having information products, as you’ll be able to determine from this post. I’ll use the first new product as an example.
I should mention two things:
I have already had information products available for quite some time on the JibberJobber CEO page (CEO because YOU are the CEO of YOU, Inc.!). They were recordings I did and sold online, but I didn’t push them much because I didn’t have fancy graphics, nor did I have squeeze pages (which I think are annoying), nor did I fully understand how I was going to distribute them. Alas, I think the products are awesome, especially the Write Your Book webinar as well as the Blog Marketing 201 – 501 webinar. I’ll be updating both of those.
My vision of how to do information Products was greatly expanded by my participating in chapter meetings of the National Speakers Association, and for that I’m indebted to Marc Wolfsfeld, who invited me to come to my first meeting (and who has shared great ideas with me throughout the months I’ve gotten to know him better).
Let’s get back to this revenue stream, Information Products. To get this up and running I had to bring in help. My videos are good, but I wanted to make them better (and for a future product, I have to make them better). So I hired a full-time video editor. I know, however, that you don’t have to have a full-time editor, or even have video, to have products. If you have expertise, you can create a product TODAY, and have it ready to sell TODAY. How? Either record an audio presentation (there are a billion ways to do that), or get the 30 day trial of GoToMeeting and spend the next 30 days recording your visual presentation – it’s as easy as that! I’ll share some thoughts about Information Products in the framework of Marketing’s Four P’s:
The difference between a product like this and a service like consulting is the scalability. Ask anyone who consults for a living and one of their concerns is how to create revenue without putting in the hours (how do I get an hour of billing without doing an hour of work?).
That’s the beauty of a product – I can sell 1 or 1,000 or 1,000,000 and, if I have a good system, it won’t matter. I’m sure if I get to the 1M mark, I’ll have a very different system than if I had 10 sales, but I can still scale the sales… even to a billion (in theory).
I have had to come to terms with the idea that this product can’t be crap. As the creator of my webinars, I’m very concerned about the quality… something to lose sleep over for sure. However, I’ve also realized that if I over-concern myself about creating the perfect product, I’ll never get it done. Sometimes you have to just hit the “record” button and start.
Here’s a funny thing about LinkedIn for Job Seekers… many of you may know that I do not like to script things – I like a good bullet-point list to work from, and then just wing it. But on this series I had to script, WORD FOR WORD, each of the sessions. The one time I didn’t do that, I had to re-record until I finally did it.
How much are you worth? I can’t answer that for you. Pricing your product is tough – that’s why there’s the Professional Pricing Society (no kidding)! Here are three considerations on pricing my products:
I am an expert, and therefore, should command a higher price. Because of my books, my speaking, and my experience in the last three years, I think I’m qualified to be an expert in this space. Of course, having others say I’m the LinkedIn expert helps considerably :p Too many professionals think what they do is easy, and price themselves way too low.
I can’t price myself out of the market, if I want to sell a lot (or make a lot). If I charge $500 to individuals for LinkedIn for Job Seekers, how many sales do you think I’ll make? I agree (none).
Many products like this go for around $100 (which I think is too much, especially for a job seeker). I was in an internet marketing mastermind group and was asked how much my ebook sold for. “$11.95,” I responded. They all thought I was nuts, and that I should sell it for $80+. There is some weird phenomenon online where people are selling their products for a lot more than I’d pay … I think it depends on WHO the prospect is – a job seeker vs a company = different pricing thoughts.
I’ve decided to price LinkedIn for Job Seekers at $59.95, which includes shipping and handling (the final product is a DVD, since the files are way too big to download)… for the next month I’ll offer it for $49.95 since it won’t be shipping until mid-March (so prepurchase it and save $10).
Promoting my JibberJobber CEO webinars was done halfway, as I wasn’t quite sure how to really sure how I would run that side of the business. But it’s a solid revenue stream now and with my video editor, and my DVD plans, and my marketing plan in place, I’m ready to get behind it.
I will beef up my JibberJobber CEO page, but I’ll also have other places where I’ll communicate the information (including affiliates (I’ll announce that later) and JibberJobber Partners). I’ll also put information about my products in my newsletters (my monthly newsletter hasn’t gone out for 9 months! It will go out as soon as we get some mail server stuff worked out), and I’ll look at some traditional advertising.
They key here, as I mentioned in my First Revenue Stream post, is that marketing and sales is a substantial, significant part of the success of this revenue stream. I’ve seen crap products fly off the shelf, while awesome stuff just sits there. Making sales leads to success, not making an excellent product. Again, I’m sensitive to the quality of my product because I want to have strong reputation of having excellent stuff.
This has always been an awkward “P” for me, since most of my stuff has always been on the word wide web. So perhaps I’m interpreting this wrong, but a lot of “placement” will be on the websites I mentioned in the Promotion section above.
I’ll also have an inventory at my office and in my laptop bag, so that I’m always ready to deliver a DVD if someone wants it. What am I missing here?
Helpful information? If you have an information product, have purchased one, or want to have one, what do you think makes it successful? Share thoughts or ideas below
Since being laid off, I have spent hundreds of hours researching career opportunities, building my network and helping others with their job searches. I quickly discovered that while we all seek support from our networks, we haven’t necessarily figured how to make it as easy as possible for our contacts to help us on our search. If you’ve ever been asked, you know it requires some thought and involves some pressure to offer the help you’d like to provide.
Are you open to relocation? If yes, what are your top three preferred locations?
Are you looking for full-time, part-time, consulting or contract work? Are you available for travel?
Is your salary fixed or negotiable?
Are you determined to have the same title or level or would you consider lateral or other moves?
Arm your network with the tools to easily share your info with their network
Prepare your resume and cover letter. Have these done professionally if you can afford it.
Take the time to write an email introduction for your contact to use, describing who you are and highlighting what makes you unique. This can be personalized by your contact to make quick and easy virtual introductions.
Be sure to provide current contact info that includes email, phone, and the best way and times to reach you.
Finally, be sure your linkedin, facebook and other social media profiles are professional and do not contradict the image your contact is vouching for.
While these few steps may seem simple and self-evident, they are some of the most productive steps you can take in your job search journey. Good luck in your search and don’t forget to thank your contacts and pay it forward when others are seeking your help.
What other steps have you taken to make it easy for your network to help you in your job search? Share your experiences in the comments section and “share this” with your network, it’s easy.
A job search coach would have significantly changed my job search… here are two reason why:
I was doing the wrong stuff in my job search, but I didn’t know it. I spun my wheels, and got frustrated, but didn’t know I should do something else.
I had no accountability to anyone. Everyone treated me with kid gloves since they didn’t know how to ask if I was still unemployed. It’s a touchy subject that many don’t ask about.
Now, you can PAY for a coach, or you can find a “buddy,” as Craig suggests. Either are okay options, in my opinion. During my job search I didn’t think I could afford a coach, and I’m not sure if I was ready to be a good client of a coach.
I have seen, however, many job seekers find someone they can be accountable to from job search clubs – essentially their job search peers. Some of those relationships lasted beyond the job search, which I think is pretty cool. I think there are two keys to a coaching relationship:
Principle-based methodology. If someone is your job search coach and they tell you to do bad stuff (like spend all your time on job boards, or apply to newspaper ads 100% of the time), you have the wrong coach. This is where a professional job search coach comes in – not only are they principle-based, they have a lot of experience with their other clients that will help you keep your job search as short as possible.
Accountability. You must be accountable to someone for your weekly (daily?) goals and targets. This CANNOT be your spouse, as your spouse is TOO close to the emotional outcome of the job search. I know career coaches who won’t coach their spouses
Do you have a coach? If not, go get one. In the link above, the first point in the Job Search Creed is to get a coach.
In my How to Help a Job Seeker post, where I share five things you can do to help a job seeker, I shared an experience where I went to lunch with a professional contact and was blown away. I wrote:
Once I got to know him at a deeper level I could (and did) go back to my network and make more proper, more meaningful connections. This only happened because I took the time to get to know him better.
Linda asked for more information on why I was blown away. And since Linda said she is “super-curious,” well, I guess I’ll share why Here’s more of that story:
I met Bart while attending a weekly meeting for professionals in transition. Bart was immediately welcomed into the group, and fit in like the rest of us chumps who couldn’t believe we were unemployed.
I remember all of Bart’s “me in 30 second” pitches, because they all had a consistency, but each week he tried a new twist on them. Sometimes he emphasized his IT background, sometimes he emphasized his executive IT positions, and sometimes he emphasized his community service (he had been a local elected official, which meant at one point in his career he was quite visible).
Each week I wondered what Bart was going to focus on, and it was fun to watch his pitch evolve. Understand that I had, by this point, stereotyped him. He was an older guy with a strong IT management background, which I translated to “legacy” systems. And his mention of the government role told me he could politic, and I guessed that he was good at going to meetings (something management and politicians probably master). I doubted he understood any part of my IT world, which was more web-based, newer technologies. My old boss, who politicked me out of my job, was an old-school legacy IT guy, and I understood his “type” quite well.
If you think stereotyping sucks, you are RIGHT. If you think it’s wrong, you are RIGHT. If you think we shouldn’t do it, you are RIGHT. If you think people don’t do it, you are WRONG. I think EVERYONE stereotypes. Even you.
I had stereotyped this guy to the point where, within the first meeting or two, I knew what we could offer one another (which wasn’t much). And I left it at that. Until the day I said “let’s have lunch.” Or he said it. Even though I had stereotyped him, I still liked him – he was a very cool guy, and I wanted to help him (I just didn’t think I could), and I wanted to get to know him better.
So we had lunch. For two hours. I asked about his past, his career, what he was looking for. In this casual environment I find two things:
There are no time constraints to your answers. You don’t have to keep it down to 30 – 60 seconds. It’s not like a networking thing where we are both anxious to get the next business card. It’s you and me, one-on-one. You can share much more.
You can’t go anywhere for about an hour. There is no “I gotta run” until at least after eating. You can share a lot of information because you will be with one another for a while.
And share we did. Bart told me about his early days in IT, which always intrigues me because they weren’t so long ago but were part of the beginnings of the computer era, and foundational to what we do today. He lived through that (just as I suspected).
But here’s where I got blown away: Bart told me of his more recent roles. They were not legacy at all – they were in small, agile, new-technology companies, just like what I was trying to build. I don’t remember hearing any of this in his 30 second pitches.
I had stereotyped him as an old legacy big-systems guy, and I learned that he was indeed very much in touch with newer technologies, startups, etc.
I think this is why I was blown away… because I had stereotyped him, and when I learned more about him, the stereotype was totally wrong.
So I went home and did four or five email introductions, with enthusiasm. I could only do this after I got to know him better.
If there’s a lesson in this, maybe it’s that we should think about how we are setting up others to stereotype us, based on our communication to them, and what could happen if they really understood who we are.